Media Condition: VG
Sleeve Condition: VG+
Genre: Rock, Progressive, Art
Notes: 1973 release with gatefold cover. Regular, subtle wear on cover from use–very clean for its age. Surface noise on both sides of record, with louder pops on first side. No significant scratches, could use a cleaning.
If you like: The Velvet Underground with a more pronounced, yet lazy lean into eccentricity or an airier take on John Cale’s works, you’ll love this record.
About: Kevin Ayers was one of rock’s oddest and more likable enigmas, even if he often seemed not to operate at his highest potential. Perhaps that’s because he never seemed to have taken his music too seriously–one of his essential charms and most aggravating limitations. After the late ‘60s, he released many albums with a distinctly British sensibility, making ordinary lyrical subjects seem extraordinary with his rich low vocals, inventive wordplay, and bemused, relaxed attitude. Apt to flavor his songs with female backup choruses and exotic island rhythms, the singer/songwriter inspired the image of a sort of progressive rock beach bum, writing about life’s absurdities with a celebratory, relaxed detachment. Yet he was also one of progressive rock’s more important (and more humane) innovators, helping to launch Soft Machine as their original bassist, and working with noted European progressive musicians like Mike Oldfield, Lol Coxhill, and Steve Hillage. *via Richie Unterberger
Why it’s worth your time: You either love art and prog rock or you can’t stand it–there’s never been a neutral ground–that is, not until you’ve listened to Bananamour. I think a lot of the hatred of the genre stems from its inherent pretentiousness. What Kevin Ayers had done with this album–abandoned pretentiousness in favor of fun–he had done masterfully. Arguably Ayers’ most accessible work, Bananamour is still rather innovative with the glimmering “Decadence,” an eight-minute-long psych-drenched ode to Nico that could’ve very well come from Spacemen 3 (of course, “Decadence” came about a whole two decades prior!) and the ever-charming, warped nursery rhyme of a number written about Syd Barrett, titled “Oh! Wot A Dream”. Though it’s easy to hear those stand out, the entire album is worth your ears, especially the underrated and gorgeous “Hymn”–my personal favorite. It’s hard to believe Kevin Ayers is not a more revered figure–perhaps it’s this refreshing lack of pretentiousness. But if you know what’s good for you, you’ll enjoy this album and care to bask in its genius.
A favorite track: Shouting in a Bucket Blues